• Human Rights Watch

Japanese-Trained Officers in Myanmar Among Those Committing War Crimes

May 22, 2022

[Image Source: © 2018 Lynn Bo Bo/Pool via AP]

Cited article by Human Rights Watch


HRRC calls upon the Japanese government to cease providing training to Myanmar forces who are actively complicit in human rights abuses and war crimes. While Japan publicly calls for the return to democratic rule, the continued military training support to select officers undermines the statements and enables the ongoing abuses.


Article Summary


A Myanmar air force lieutenant colonel with Japanese military training was among those implicated in committing severe human rights abuses. Numerous organizations have demanded Japan end its training program and that an investigation be launched into whether others trained by the Japanese government have been involved in the ongoing abuses. In the Magway region of Myanmar where these events occurred, media sources reported mass executions, indiscriminate airstrikes, and torture of civilians. These are only some of the more recent abuses committed by the Myanmar military, leading analysts to question whether Japan should have trained Myanmar personnel in the first place.


Japan has welcomed cadets and officers from Myanmar since 2015. Following the 2021 coup in Myanmar, Japan accepted four cadets and four officers into their program. During this time, Human Rights Watch urged Japan to cease training Myanmar officers to avoid the risk of being complicit in military atrocities including the genocide of the Rohingya people. Since the coup, it is estimated that Myanmar forces have killed over 1,800 people, including at least 130 children, and arbitrarily arrested over 13,000.